What We Do at SC Villas

I am a person who rarely sits in complacency, and my San Clemente Villas is a reflection of who Paul and I are as people. We love to entertain and to make people happy. Whenever we can, we bring that joy of living to our residents and their families, and we throw some great parties at San Clemente Villas.

One of everyone’s favorites is the group the Kelly Boys. We recently had a great country how down, the band and the Kelly Boyz helped take our dance to  a whole other level. A great time was had by all!!

My favorite photographer, Mark Montgomery was once again on hand to snap some great photos of the festivities. He always makes us look good, but beyond that, he is able to capture the joy we all feel when we host, and participate in these events..

Take a look for yourself:

Aileen Brazeau


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Losing Loved Ones

There are so many positive aspects about growing older. One negative that’s impossible to over look is the older we get, the more people we lose.


Losing Loved Ones

My mother’s youngest brother passed away on Sunday. He was the youngest of 14 children. There are only six of the siblings left. Through my mother’s tears she said, “We’re falling like flies. I just can’t believe my baby brother’s gone.”  

My best friend lost both of her parents last year. Her parents were the same ages as mine. Talk about a wake-up call. I’ve always cherished my parents, but now I’m more aware that our time together is limited.


So, how can we help those we love who are grieving? I think the most important thing is to be there to listen. My friend, Linda, went through many stages of grieving. Sometimes she was very angry that her parents had died.


Anger is normal – She was mad at them. “I’m an orphan,” she said. “I know I’m old, but it still feels like I’ve been abandoned.” Other times she would talk about all the great times they had together. Both of these extremes are normal, and good for the process. It’s very important never to judge those who are grieving. The last thing they need is more guilt piled upon the grief.


Giving is sharing – If it’s a relative your family has lost, it’s easy to get caught up in your own feelings. After all, you’re hurting too. But, this is not a contest about who is suffering the worse. It’s about sharing the load of grief and remembering the wonderful times with your loved one. There will most likely be tears, and they should come. It’s a part of the process.


In their own time – There’s no time limit on how long it may take to get through the grieving process. Experts say it usually lasts between 18 months to 2 years. But we all know that some elders never get over the loss of a spouse. Try your best to remain open to their feelings and allow them to always share. The more you acknowledge their pain, the more comfort the will feel from you.


We’re all different. Some people seem to go on like nothing has really happened. They’re the ones that might need us the most. It will eventually hit them. Be prepared, it might be very hard for the ones who’ve put off grieving.


Kind words, a loving touch and a listening ear are the combinations to comfort a grieving person. Sometimes we all just need a shoulder to cry on and someone who’s willing to let us vent.


Rely on the Foundations of your life – If you are person of faith, now is the time to be a prayer warrior. If your elder has faith, make sure they get to attend services at their place of worship. There can’t be too many people to help you through this time of sadness.


Sticking together – This is a time to come together as a family, if at all possible. Each member of the family has important contributions and their own strengths that can help through these difficult times. Let each person know that they are needed and appreciated. Share the physical tasks that might be needed by your parent such as shopping, meals, home care, financial paperwork and transportation. This will keep all of you from experiencing caregiver burn-out.


The really sad thing is that if we live long enough, we too will be grieving over the passing of loved ones. Being there for our parents means our children will see what we will need in the future.


Beyond normal grieving – Be aware that clinical depression might be a problem for your parent. Watch for these problems that might develop months after the passing: Neglect of personal hygiene, thoughts of their own impending death, reclusiveness, alcohol or drug abuse, difficulty in performing tasks of daily life, feelings of hopelessness. Always take talk about suicide seriously and get them help with or without their consent.


Being there to remember – Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays can be especially painful for your parent. Keep your family members aware of these special days so you all can be helpful. Perhaps a phone call or an outing may be just the ticket to helping your parent through these times.

By Karen Everett Watson – Gerontologist


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Who Can You Count On?

For the past 10 years, my mother’s been a caregiver to my daddy. After losing his bladder to cancer, his health has fluctuated from being pretty good, to not good at all. It’s been a long road for my mother and it’s not over yet. I worry about my daddy. I worry about my mother almost as much.


The stress of caring can be costly. Did you know care givers are at a high risk of dying, even before the ones they are caring for? This fact was emphasized over and over again in my gerontology classes.


If you are the primary care giver to an aging loved one, I’d like to give you a head’s up – If you don’t get help, you will burn out. It could cost you your health. There are a lot of good reasons to share the load of caring. First, if you don’t get help, you and your loved one will suffer the consequences. Second, caring has its own rewards.


My children love their gramps a lot. But when he gets sick, they seem to avoid even talking about the issue. They’re all grown people with children of their own, but they might as well be in grade school when it comes to facing up to my daddy’s problems. I’m working on them. They’re not there yet. They will have to step up very soon! I don’t want them to have regrets. I want them to cherish the time they still have with both my parents.


So here’s to educating our family and friends –


Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen. Write down the names of your family members who live close enough to help. Leave some space between the names. Now, write down the close friends of your loved one who also live close enough to help. Then write down the names of church members and neighbors who could help you in a pinch. This is your network of caring. Get them involved. They will be better for it, and you will to.

Who can you count on?


Let them all know that your loved one would appreciate a visit, a phone call, or just having lunch with them once in a while. Whether or not they are living alone, or in a retirement community, they still need to be connected to people they care about. Don’t let people forget them. Encourage your family members to make time for them.


While you are at it, ask them if you could count on them for helping you. Sometimes you can’t juggle your life to take mom or dad to the doctor. I bet someone in your network of caring wouldn’t mind helping out. But you have to ask. E-mail is a great way to connect with your network of caring people. Keep them updated on what’s going on in your life and your loved ones’. I started a family facebook page, so all my kids and relatives can get updates from me. It’s been much easier than calling them all and they can also let me know what’s going on in their lives. Only my family members can see the updates. I like that.


Moving them might be necessary – and good for them!

When your folks just have to have more help than you can give, it’s time to have that talk. Most good communities encourage you to visit and have a meal. I’ve interviewed many elders in retirement communities and most of them say it’s the best decision they ever made. The activities and social connections are a new leaf on life. Boredom can ruin anyone’s quality of life. So, don’t die a martyr. Get the help you need so you can be a cheerful care giver!

By Karen Everett Watson




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Entertainers at San Clemente Villas

The Kelly Boyz Cowboy Dancers Show

Why do we have entertainers come to San Clemente Villas by the Sea?  Imagine if you could no longer drive, if the only family you had was located at the opposite ends of the country. What would you do all day? Would you watch TV, play cards, and chat with friends? All of that is fine but, after a while, it is a pretty restrictive routine.

I like to have fun, I love music and dancing, and so do most people. So every couple of weeks we have live entertainment at our San Clemente Villas. In July we had the Cowboy Dancers come into our place and entertain our people. In June we were sponsors of the annual San Clemente Classic Car Show. This past August, we took a birthday Cruise out off of the Dana Point Harbor and a few weeks ago we even had a Luau! We always invite the families and friends of our residents, and often we will hold fund raising events for various charities and foundations around our community.

Our residents are not just people who live in our Villas–they become friends and extended family. There is extensive research that spotlights a high level of activity and social interaction for seniors as a means to a more fulfilling life and better cognitive functioning, too. Other viable activities are music, movement, and swimming and, as we all know, these are activities that are really good for every age group!!

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